Considering Yoga Teacher Training at Reach?



Have you thought about taking a Yoga teacher training and poo-poo’d the idea because you figured you wouldn’t end up teaching anyway? Well, teacher training is meant for anyone who loves yoga,  anyone wants to enhance their practice, and anyone who desires to live a yogic lifestyle beyond their mat. Geena Zaslavsky, a dedicated Reach student and former student of our teacher training program tells you just why you should delve deeper.

Q.Why did you decide to take a 200-hour program in yoga? 

While practicing law for the past 25+ years, I always tried to maintain some sort of exercise regimen to stay in shape and manage stress. I love outdoor sports; biking, hiking, and was a triathlete before neck and knee surgeries sidelined that sport for me. I practiced yoga on and off for many years-tried various kinds and never really found a groove or a place that drew me in. Following my surgical rehab, I was anxious to resume my workouts, but concerned about re-injury, so took some semi-private yoga lessons with a friend, and the more I learned about the purpose of the yoga poses and how to do them correctly, the more I enjoyed it. Rather than something I just wanted to get done as part of my exercise routine, yoga became my favorite part of the day. It wasn’t a chore. . . it was something I looked forward to, and noticeably missed when I couldn’t fit it in my schedule. 

I started taking classes with Ramaa at Full-Bloomed Lotus in Wilmette, and noticed a seismic positive shift in my outlook, attitude and stress levels. I went on a weekend yoga retreat with my friend Deb Wineman (who teaches at Reach), and started to really appreciate the whole yoga culture as an open, accepting, supportive “no judgment” zone. That’s what really drew me in.

Q. What about the Reach Yoga program in particular was appealing? 

I love Deb Wineman (as a person and a yoga teacher), and she was in charge, so that made it an easy choice. I live in Glencoe, so Reach was a very convenient venue. I also thought it was a great schedule (Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons) and easy to make work. They were also very cool about helping you make up the work if you had to miss a class. I also really liked all the people in my class, so looked forward to seeing them twice a week as well as learning the material.

Q. What were a few key learnings you took away from the program? 

The class deepened and enhanced my yoga practice beyond anything I expected. I have a lawyer brain, so the spiritual aspect of yoga was always a little much for me. I never understood the whole chanting situation, and was pretty satisfied with a good hard Vinyasa flow class and nailing a crow pose. This class expanded my horizons so much, and really complimented my studies at Full-Bloomed Lotus. We learned about the interesting origins of the yoga asanas (poses) from Pam Gross, their purpose, and the correct way to do them. We studied anatomy with Jenny, who was amazing and really broke down the physicality of the poses, teaching us what they helped and when they were contraindicated. Paul taught us about energy, the Gunas and the more spiritual side of the practice, and Deb and Wendy taught us how to communicate our new knowledge in a way other people could understand.  My own practice did and continues to improve exponentially because of this training.

Q. What was your favorite aspect of the program? 

I loved learning so much about an area I knew almost nothing about when I started the class, and loved becoming part of an amazing community. Yoga people are just really cool. And kind. And interesting.

Q. Have you taught yoga? Did you expect to teach? Do you expect to teach in the future? 

I never went into this class expecting to teach. My established career choice (one I also love) and travel schedule would preclude a regular teaching commitment. That said, I did teach a few classes as part of the training program and shortly thereafter. I was anxious about my playlist and the likelihood of miscuing right and left, but overall channeled Deb and Wendy, who said not to think of it as “teaching,” but rather “sharing” your own practice, which was super helpful advice. My hope is that as my schedule lets up in the foreseeable future, I can integrate my yoga training into my life passions, and “share my practice” with people in underserved populations and communities.

Q. How has your yoga practice changed as a result of completing an immersive program? 

I am better at it, enjoy it more, understand it more, and am far better at integrating yoga principles into my life off the mat and outside the studio. I am also now able to practice yoga alone on the road when I travel, which I do often, so can consistently practice without the hassle of finding a yoga studio everywhere I go (though that can be fun too!) 

Q. What advice would you give to someone considering a program who isn’t sure they want to teach (or is sure they do not want to teach)? 

Do it!  You won’t regret it!

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